New Jersey educator Martin J. Smith of Edison has been honored for his efforts to help prepare New Jersey students for the global marketplace. Smith, supervisor of the World Languages, ESL and Bilingual program at Edison Public Schools in Edison, NJ, has received the 2007 Supervisor of the Year award from the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL). Co-sponsored by educational publisher Pearson, the award was presented at NADSFL�s 2007conference in San Antonio.
The award recognizes Smith�s contributions to the profession of foreign language education, notably his drive to establish a standards-based world languages program for students throughout the state of New Jersey. As an executive board member of the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey, Smith has worked to develop a language program from elementary through high school, to help students improve their ability to communicate in the language they are studying
Part of Smith�s mission is to enable Edison students to interact efficiently within the township, which has enormous cultural and linguistic diversity. Over eighty different languages are spoken by area students, primarily Gujarati, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. In addition, he has found that language study prepares students for rigorous academic work after high school and for future careers.
"The amount of time in a traditional language learning experience, maybe two years in high school, is not enough time to develop language proficiency,� he said. �If we can give students a language learning and cultural experience throughout their K-16 careers, we have a chance to change a generation of students.�
His observations are echoed at the national level. Government, business and education leaders have been advocating similar programs to maintain the United States� global competitiveness. The American School Board Journal has reported that the U.S. Department of State cites deficits in foreign language education as a hindrance to the nation�s �security, diplomacy, law enforcement, intelligence and cultural understanding.�
Smith noted that The No Child Left Behind Act has caused schools to place a heavy emphasis on math and language arts literacy. �This means those of us in second language instruction have to work for resources,� he said. �We can give students a very special skill that connects them to the world through language and culture. No other discipline can give that.�
�Mr. Smith is responsible for extremely innovative work with students and teachers, including the introduction of technological tools to access authentic information and materials on foreign languages and culture,� said Cathy Wilson, Humanities Marketing Director, Pearson Curriculum. �He richly deserves this award, and we are pleased to be able to take part in recognizing his efforts.�
�Martin Smith has successfully shared his vision for a world language program with other district administrators as well as parents in his community, garnering crucial support for his initiatives,� said Priscilla Russel, Chair of the NADSFL Nominating Committee and Supervisor of World Languages and ESL for the Princeton (Regional) Schools. �He more than meets the criteria for Supervisor of the Year.�
Smith is also a member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. He serves on the board of directors for the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages as well as the executive board of the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies.
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